6 Reasons Why You Should Take Up Yoga

How yoga is changing me

Yoga and I have an interesting relationship.

I was 19 when we first got to know each other. My friend Carolina (she’s in the photo below) took me to a class – and I couldn’t get into it at all. I struggled to understand the mental side of the practice.

Three years later and I now know why this happened. I was focusing too much on the difficulty of each asana, how I looked, the fact that I couldn’t hold a triangle pose for more than three seconds. Instead of enjoying the process of learning. Because yoga’s all about that the process and the learning.

Since I committed to practice every day, I’ve noticed many many benefits. Here are my top six:

1.      Strength
If you’re like me and the idea of being in a gym lifting weights is hell, maybe you should consider doing yoga to build your strength instead. Every time you transition from pose to pose, you lift our body weight. Isn’t that great? And trust me, I’ve never been stronger. Even my arms look toned!

2.      Body awareness
One of my favorite things about yoga is that I don’t need to push harder or sweat if I don’t feel like it. I do what feels good to my body. This has helped me to bring awareness of my body, find purpose with my movement and even gain coordination. I find my mind telling me “long back and neck”, “shoulders away from ears”, “exhale and release gently”. I’ve become good at listening to my body and taking care of it.

3.      More flexibility
I didn’t know how important flexibility was for a healthy body until I gained back. After dropping ballet I lost all of my flexibility and unfortunately, we gradually lose it as we grow older so working on it has been a challenge but the good thing about flexibility is that unlike strength, it takes less effort to maintain. Keeping a flexible body will improve your life quality as the years go by and yoga it’s just the best way to keep your muscles and joints healthy. 

4.      Better posture
A good posture is a happy back. Most of us spend a good amount of our time sitting. As student I spend A LOT of time chained to a table. And the perfect way of preventing back pains is my daily yoga session.

5.      Wellbeing and mind-body workout
I’ve recently learnt that “yoga” means union, the union between mind and body. And now that I know how to connect those two, my tendencies to overthink and stress over everything have reduced dramatically. Taking a few minutes every day to do sun salutations and “flow” have changed my mood and the way I react to things. I’ve learnt to breathe and to relax.

6.      Fewer injuries and better muscle recuperation
As a runner, I’ve got to know injuries quite well. My knees and hips get tired and my legs get extremely sore after long runs. However, if I do a yoga session focusing on hips-opener poses right after my run, my muscles will go back to normal sooner. It’s incredible how different the day after feels if you treat your body to a nice yoga “flow” after training.

Have you ever tried yoga? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences, follow me at @annadesousa .


CONTRIBUTOR

Ana is a 21-year-old Translation student and a social media savvy vegan keen to share her plant-based passion. She believes that this lifestyle is something we can all learn from, something we can spread and teach, and, most of all, something that can bring us joy.

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How to Incorporate Mindfulness into Your Work Day

Even if you have an established mindfulness practice, bringing that intention to your work day can be difficult. It’s easy to get so caught up with meetings, to-do lists, phone calls, and emails that by the end of the day you haven’t paused for breath, you can’t remember what you ate for lunch, and you’re dreading the commute home. Rather than drown your sorrows at the nearest happy hour, incorporate some mindful moments and improve every weekday. Here’s how:

Commute Meditations

Don’t let your commute be empty. Meditate. If you walk, count your steps, and breathe in rhythm with them. If you’re on a train or in traffic, focus on your breath. Inhale for a count of 3, and exhale for a count of 3. Count those seconds. Focus your attention on these actions to quiet your mind and give your brain some peace.

Lunch Break Focus

Eating lunch at your desk is a reality we all (yes, even us, the mindful-obsessives) occasionally face. But this doesn’t mean you should eat without thinking or pausing for breath. Before you start your meal, take a moment to express gratitude for it. While you eat, notice how it tastes, smells, and makes you feel. Every time you take a spoonful, look at the food, not your screen. These moments of focus on your food, in between all those emails, will help you have a more nourishing lunch break, despite the location.

Breathing Breaks

You know we should take a break from our work every 45 minutes, right? Ok, that might be unrealistic. But what is realistic is setting a timer every hour for a breathing break. Remove your hands from the keyboard, ignore your phone, and take 10 deep breaths. Then get back to work.

Pay Attention

Your workday will be happier and more rewarding if you engage with your colleagues. Make eye contact, listen carefully, and respond kindly and fairly. An action as small as saying ‘Good Morning’ when you arrive every day will make an improvement to the office’s, and your, mood.

Single-Task

You’ve probably heard that multitasking is bad. But we’re going to say it again. In fact, we finish about 50% less when we’re multitasking and increase our stress levels. Focus on one task at a time, and complete your work with higher quality and efficiency.

Return to Your Never-Forget Mantra

When you’re stressed, return to your ‘never-forget mantra’. This mantra should be a few words you can easily remember and turn to. Repeat this grounding statement, breathe deeply, and return yourself to calm.

Bring mindfulness to your workplace and boost your mood, energy, and productivity. Keep track of your mood, and we’re confident that in a few weeks, you’ll notice how your mindful approach has bettered your work, stress levels, and relationships with co-workers.


CONTRIBUTORS

Splendid Spoon weekly plant-based program is simple, satisfying, and wholesome. Vegan & Gluten-free. Ships Nationwide.

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This post was originally shared inThe Spoonful Blog